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Are you and your business COVID-19 crisis ready?


It is generally accepted that any battle plan will not survive first contact - well, first contact is now here and the COVID-19 situation has thrown many of our clients and colleagues into crisis management mode. And while others in the marketplace are shouting that it is all too little too late, this is not true as no-one really knows how long this pandemic will last.

And the most important issue facing business right now is an ability to survive the crisis - albeit 6 minutes, 6 days , 6 weeks or 6 months

This is a two pronged approach for survival - and you have to run both in parallel, coordinating internal and external stakeholders’ responses, as well as planning the crisis communications strategy and effectively tracking organisational reputation.

While some of our clients are facing the relentless 24 hour news cycle, for others it is about brand reputation and image management

And we will offer further dialogue around these aspects in coming days.

In terms of crisis and issues management it's now time to stop and think, lay out a comprehensive roadmap to successfully navigate challenging situations, and work through all possible scenarios. The world has changed and old methods are fast becoming redundant.

Much of the below is based on the fact that you have ALREADY sorted key messaging and media approaches - if that has not yet taken place we will need to work on developing those cornerstones first before committing to any forward-facing actions.

WHO is speaking for you?

  • Have you developed a list of spokespeople

  • Has this list been prioritised, and what is Plan B if your key spokesperson contracts COVID-19

  • How does this roster work

  • Do you have SME (Subject Matter Experts) who can step in to represent your organisation

  • Have these people had media experience or been media trained

HOW are they communicating?

  • Do these people have 'cheat sheets' and up to date notes

  • Are they clear on their defined roles

  • Have you got FAQ's on your website

  • Is their role also a social media commitment..what platform are you using for what purpose

  • What is the tone of the conversation

  • Are they doing it from the office or from home

  • What are they wearing - collar and tie, corporate polo

WHAT is the crisis situation?

  • How severe is the crisis - rated red, amber, green

  • Does it effect your directly or indirectly as an organisation

  • How many people are effected

KEY points for uncertain times

  • Define your stakeholders

  • Work out your strategy and delivery timeline

  • Re-iterate your messages and provide background context

  • KISS principle - Keep it simple

  • Refine your messages for easy comprehension for an under-resourced media

  • Use examples where you can

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare - do you have EDM's and social media ready to go?

Going Forward

  • Provide updates where you can

  • Create a dedicated web page for FAQ's and points of contact

  • Stay relevant

  • Monitor the media - social and traditional

  • Seek out internal and external communication support

Update your holding statements to include messaging addressing coronavirus. When you are impacted (like now!) time will be of the essence. Having statements prepared will allow you to move as quickly as possible to share information with key stakeholders.

There is a new reality across the market place - now is the time to invest in your image, as tomorrow will bring more challenges.

Please contact us at media@cozalive.com for any advice around the above - stay healthy, stay relevant.

#Crisismanegment #keymessages #issuesmanagement #COVID19 #PRandcommunication #publicrelations

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